When Justice Antonin Scalia made an obscene gesture in a Catholic Church the other day, I started thinking about the way that Americans communicate. Hand gestures have been a traditional means to show displeasure, anger, delight, etc. I decided to take a photographic poll of friends and locals to see what kind of gesture or communication, if any, they would like to send to President Bush concerning the way he has handled the Iraq War.
I started by going next door to see my friend and neighbor Mary Principle. I needed to return the iron she lent me about three months ago anyway. When I saw that Baby Principle was sitting in her lap, I decided to get the youth vote and asked him first.
"Baby Principle, what message would you like to send to our President about this war?" He looked up, grinned, drooled a bit and voted with his index finger.
Then I spotted his sweet brother, little Ethan Principle. He's getting to be a big boy, going into school soon and should be knowledgeable about politics by now. Asked him the same question.
Well, this family is in agreement so far. I asked Ethan where his older brother, Peter Principle was. He said Peter was out in the street playing around and riding his new bike.
So, after spending a few minutes getting Mary's answer to my survey, I told her goodbye and trundled out to find him.
OOOPs! Peter Principle was in trouble. I didn't want to interfere with an officer of the law carrying out his duty, which they do quite regularly in my neighborhood, so I shouted my question to little Peter. The little darling gave a sly answer while being interrogated by the nice policeman, something about a stolen bicycle in the neighborhood. Those darn kids!
I even surveyed Officer Smiley as we call him, a pleasant kid-friendly law enforcement officer who always has a cheerful word for everyone.
As he was handcuffing Peter, he had a few minutes to answer my question about the President. His third finger angrily tapped the arrest form. Wow. This day was getting statistically bizarre. Everyone was unhappy with the way Bush is handling the war! Yikes!
So I walked down the street to our neighborhood Zilker Park. It was a lovely day, the birds were singing and I ran into LaTour DeFrance, a neighborhood homeless woman. I often buy her coffee and breakfast, so we are on speaking terms. "Hi, LaTour," I shouted, "how's the day going?
She was a little hung over but basically OK. When I asked her about Bush, she instinctively snarled, went into a fetal crouch and whipped out the bird like a gunslinger on X, "That mofo, he is the definition of evil."
"Now, LaTour, I asked, aren't you being a bit hasty?" I was trying to be pleasant.
"That bastard will be the death of us all," she replied cryptically, and took a swig out of her pocket flask.
I kept walking and saw a giant fire ant mound. Now, they get extra big in Texas, as you may know, and my sister's babysitter, Betty Jo Bob was standing in front of one of the smaller Texas-sized fire ant mounds, enjoying the clean fresh air.
"Hey, Betty Jo Bob," I said, "You are standing way too close to that fire ant mound, your momma's gonna tan your hide if you get bit up. C'mon over here."
She marched right over and I asked her if she had anything she wanted to say to the President to describe his handling of the war. As she scratched lazily, she expressed her opinion for the camera. Well, there it was, another enthusiastic third finger salute.
I thanked her and kept on moving until I saw her brother, Jimmy Jo Bob, on his way with Stinky Elroy over to their National Guard weekend training at Camp Mabry. Well, once again I got the same answer, which surprised me until I remembered he and Elroy were real close friends and Elroy's bother had been perforated to death by mine shrapnel in Iraq because the US government hadn't given him any body armor.
Well, you can see his answer. Shooting his Commander-in-chief a fine proud American eagle. I began to feel like that Greek guy Diogenes who wandered around with a lamp looking for an honest man. Didn't anyone like the way Bush was handling the war?
I took a few minutes to stop in at Roy's duplex by the park. It was still early and from the loud punk/ska sound coming from inside, I could tell they were up and awake. Roy works down at Emo's, a bar on 6th street, as bar back while he goes to college. They let me in and offered me a doobie, in between giggles, which I pleasantly declined, as I told him what I was doing.
The cluttered inside of his duplex was covered in a thick smoky haze. When they finally located their third finger, there was a whole array of photos I took, including some of his friends Ahmed, Hushang and Cho.
I thanked them for their time and their opinion, left them to their silliness and headed home.
Wow. I knew that the Bush was slipping in the polls, but still I was surprised to see the unanimous negative reaction to his war policy. I decided to stop briefly at my new accountant's office to fill out a few forms that he had called me about the day before. I also thought to include my accountant Larry in the survey.
I walked into Larry's office and it was plain he had just returned from his daily four-mile run. He was catching his breath as I explained my mission for the day. He winked and coyly ran his third finger across his face with a look that told me not to push him for further explanation. I signed the forms quickly and moved on.
Then I saw my old high school buddy Mack Rell, just pulling his hog out for a spin. He offered me a ride home and I gladly accepted. I explained what I had been doing all day while putting on a spare helmet.
No point in taking any unecessary chances! He turned and I snapped his picture. Yup, just like all the others. More of the same flip off to Bush. We roared off in a cloud of dust. I got home in one piece and thought about my day.
Looks like Bushco has used up his political capital. I turned on the TV and promptly fell asleep.